A boy has a dreamlike adventure in a mellow, fantastic, inimitably Steig-imagined jungle. Unlike Sendak's Max, Leonard doesn't know why he finds himself slashing his way into the previously unpenetrated vegetation; he just knows he must push on. There are "squawking birds and raucous insects" as well as hungry plants. He explores a petrified monster, from gullet to "the great cloaca." Napping in a hammock, he wakes to find a heap of snakes beneath him, and "wishes he was home in bed." But not yet—there are still to be encounters with a shy bird named Flora; a giant flower; and a group of mandrills, who take him to court for drinking the nectar of the Jabazaba Flower (he escapes by setting off a fireworks display) before he frees his parents from a glass bottle and shows them the way home. As always, Steig's pictures are comic, full of lovely nuances of color and design, and lead the eye pleasantly from page to page. This may be Kafka's benign flip side, but why not just relax and enjoy it?

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 1987

ISBN: 0374495947

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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